Keith Earls on Joe Schmidt's influence and why he's looked so sharp
Munster and Ireland winger Keith Earls has credited Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt with taking his game to the next level.
Earls thrived under Schmidt this season and won the Rugby Players Ireland Players' Player of the Year award earlier this year after a spectacular Six Nations campaign with Ireland.
The Limerick flier has scored 10 tries in his last 20 games for the national team and he credits Schmidt for getting the most out of him over the last few years.
"We don't do much contact," Earls told Baz & Andrew's House of Rugby.
"We try and work under fatigue and make the game situational. I have Joe to thank for bringing my game to a new level and for having a good balance between defence and attack. He gets the most out of us and I'd say that's frustrating for teams at times that we don't go away."
House of Rugby co-host and one of Earls' former teammates Andrew Trimble also remarked how sharp he has looked over the last two seasons with many fans noticing a marked improvement in his agility, acceleration and speed.
Trimble: Earlsy for a while there you weren't lifting any weights in the gym. You were always fairly athletic and dynamic but you look more powerful, more dynamic, more physical than ever and you're getting on a bit so it's remarkable how sharp you look. Is that still the same routine in the gym?
Earls: Yeah same routine. Between my back issues and knee issues it was quite hard to lift heavy weight and I just didn't like the feeling of blowing up after doing weights. I try and do rehab kind of weights now because you do need to put on a small bit of muscle. If I'm feeling good I might do a small bit but I suppose I have a lot in the bank as well from 10 years previous so I've learned from Paulie [O'Connell] and a few of the lads like that.
I'm pushing on somewhat now so feeling good and looking after your body is more important than trying to be big or good in the gym.